‘I’M PREGNANT!’ shrieked Mikey. I almost choked on the laughter that erupted from within me at that. Ray laughed too, and, catching our expressions, Gerard removed his headphones once again, ...
DFF! DFF! DFF!
That was the sound that met me as I reached the top of the mall escalator. A familiar, comforting sound that I was so used to hearing yet still it never ceased to make me smile. I could hear voices too – I was in the mall, and despite the glorious sunshine that was beating down on Jersey with that weird, warm magnetism that pulls off long clothes and everyone outside, there were still people in here. Because there are always people in the mall. No matter what. It’s a rule. One of the unspoken lost commandments of Jesus – there shalt be people in thine malls. Always.
However, there weren’t many people; I’d only passed a few folk: a pair of dreamy-looking old people, a disgruntled woman pushing a buggy and dragging a whining child complaining about the heat, a group of teenage girls with bleach-blonde hair and hardly any clothes on, and a long-haired man holding a dripping ice cream, on my way from the bus station to the mall, and there was nobody on the escalator with me.
Slipping my iPod into the back pocket of my jeans after switching it off and wrapping up the earphones, my smile grew as I recognised the high, girly voice of Ray Toro and the soft-but-grating voice of Mikey Way among the faint ‘DFF! DFF! DFF!’ beats of music that I knew were blasting from Gerard Way’s headphones.
As I approached the nearly-empty, glass-fronted Starbucks where I spent a lot of time in winter – and in spring, summer and autumn too – I caught sight of three figures sitting at that ever-so-familiar table, the round one by the door. Their heads were together – one dirty blonde, one curly chestnut, one tangled ebony – as they were discussing something that was probably of very little importance. As I got close to the door and could see my scrawny, pale reflection in the glass, Mikey’s head turned so that his bright, pointy face was grinning out at me.
I saw his thin lips form my name, and as soon as they did, two other overly pale faces bobbed round to look. Enthusiastic smiles were followed by friendly, slightly insane waves that would’ve gained a strange look or two had there been anyone around. I waved back, my smile revealing my smoke-stained teeth, and I pushed open the door, my sweaty hand leaving a mark on the glass.
Gerard’s music was significantly louder inside, and I noticed that a middle-aged couple and an old man who were also sitting in the coffee shop were shooting annoyed glances at the table that I pulled up a chair to and plonked myself down at.
I pointed at Gerard, but spoke to Mikey as I knew my best friend would never hear me over what I identified as Blink-182. ‘Has he got that loud enough?’
Mikey shook his head. ‘It’s never loud enough for Gerard,’ he stated matter-of-factly, looking at his brother, who closed his eyes and began chair-dancing as the song crescendo-ed into the chorus.
AND THAT’S ABOUT THE TIME THAT BITCH HUNG UP ON ME! sang Mark from Gerard’s iPod, and while Ray and I tapped our fingers on the table to the tune, Mikey wrinkled his nose and pulled a face.
‘Honestly, Gee. I wouldn’t mind the loud music if it was good, but that’s just terrible,’ complained Mikey, although he was fully aware that Gerard couldn’t hear himself think let alone what his brother had just said.
Ray and I slammed our hands down on the table-top simultaneously and gasped in mock-disgust. ‘Michael Way, how dare you?!’ I pretended to glare at him.
‘Blink-182 are AMAZING, thankyouverymuch. Nuff said,’ said Ray, pointing a condemning finger in the younger boy’s grinning face.
‘Clearly not,’ argued Mikey, but I cut him off before he could slag my favourite band any more.
‘Gerard seems to think they’re good,’ I put in, glancing at him. Gerard. His name left a sweet taste on my lips, and I felt my cheeks get warm when Gerard opened his eyes and caught me looking.
Mikey dismissed my argument with a wave of his hand and he said, ‘Yeah, but Gerard’s gay.’ At that, Ray burst out laughing and we all looked at Gerard, who looked back at each of us, then took his headphones off as he realised we were talking about him.
Ray laughed more, earning himself a rather strange look from across the cafe.
‘Nothing. Nothing at all,’ assured Mikey, smiling sweetly at his big brother, who just scowled, flipped him the bird and shoved his headphones back on.
Ray composed himself and the four of us sat in silence for a few seconds until the next song started and the music began pulsing from Gerard’s headphones again.
Then an idea sparked in my head.
‘Gerard? Your fly’s down.’
I giggled as he didn’t hear me, but the other two just stared at me like a was a total fairy-smoking creep.
‘You have spiders in your hair,’ I continued, grinning wider. ‘There is an insanely sexy naked man behind you.’
‘I stole that twenty you were saving and spent it on condoms,’ piped in Mikey, catching on.
‘I broke your phone,’ I said innocently.
‘I watch your mom in the shower,’ offered Ray, getting the idea.
Mikey hit the curly-haired pervert who was sitting across from him. ‘Ew, you asshole.’
‘I’m turned on by your hairstyle, Gerard,’ I say, trying not to go red as I looked at Gerard, not actually lying.
‘Yeah, you’re so attractive, Gee. You really pull off the whole ‘I never shower’ look.’
‘I’m doing drugs!’ announced Mikey rather loudly.
‘I’m doing your mom!’ Ray laughed when Mikey shot him a frown.
‘I’m dating your ex-boyfriend, Gee,’ I told him, trying not to cringe away from the memory of Gerard hand in hand with another boy who had dumped him a few months ago.
‘I’m cutting myself,’ said Mikey.
‘I have inappropriate pictures of your mother all over my bedroom walls.’
‘Ray-’ Mikey looked as though he might have leapt across the table to throttle him.
‘I stole your cigarettes and sold them to Mikey,’ I said, my grin stretching so wide that I felt my cheeks aching. ‘He smokes.’
The headphones fell silent as the iPod was paused. ‘What? What’s that about cigs? What?!’ Gerard’s expression was a hilarious mix of confusion and annoyance.
But we were in stitches.
‘If your shit music wasn’t so loud, you might’ve heard,’ said Mikey, clasping his hands together to mimic the position Gerard was sitting in with his elbows propped up on the table.
‘Shut up. Come on, Mikes, that wasn’t even Blink-182 that time, it was Puddle Of Mudd.’
‘They’re shit too.’
‘They are not,’ I put in, defending Gerard’s music even though I’d never properly listened to Puddle Of Mudd. Gee shot me a grateful smile, and I blushed.
‘Your mom’s hot, Gerard,’ said Ray randomly.
Both Gerard and Mikey kicked him under the table, and I laughed. ‘He can hear you now, Ray. You do know that...?’
‘Yeah,’ said Ray sincerely. ‘But she’s still the sexiest- OWWEE!!’ He broke off with a gasp of pain as the Way brothers kicked him harder.
The door banged as the couple departed the cafe in a huff, probably discouraged by our loud and mostly inappropriate ruckus.
‘Okay guys, shut up now, you’re scaring the other members of our dismal species,’ sighed Gerard, pressing play on his iPod again. The beat was heavier than ever, and I caught Mikey’s eye before saying:
‘I’m going to poison your coffee.’
‘I’M PREGNANT!’ shrieked Mikey.
I almost choked on the laughter that erupted from within me at that. Ray laughed too, and, catching our expressions, Gerard removed his headphones once again, scowling.
‘Look, are you guys talking to me?’ He was getting quite pissed.
‘Speaking of coffee,’ said Ray as if neither of the Ways had spoken. ‘Why are we sitting in Starbucks without any?’
‘That is a very good point,’ agreed Gerard. ‘Go get some.’
Ray stood up and flounced away from the table like a hormonal teenage girl. ‘Psh, fine, but I’m getting you the flavour you don’t like.’
Gerard rolled his eyes, headphones already replaced, and pulled out his phone. Everyone he would possibly want to text was in the cafe with him, so I jumped to the conclusion that he was playing a game.
Gerard’s phone was adorably old and retro: the Nokia 1100 wasn’t exactly the newest model, but it did have Snake, that crappy game that is so awful and addictive that you have to play it constantly and your friends always beg for a shot, just to prove the terrible quality of it again and again, of course.
I watched Gerard’s face as he played, his golden eyes fixed on the screen, brimming with concentration, his shiny white teeth biting into his bottom lip as he gave the flimsy game his full attention, his tangled, blue-streaked black hair falling into his eyes as he unconsciously bent his head further down the more he played-
‘You’re giving Frank a boner, Gee,’ said Mikey in an amused tone. My heart jolted and my eyes plummeted to my jeans, before I realised that Mikey was just playing. However, he noticed my hasty glance and giggled. ‘Hah! You looked!’
My face burned and I couldn’t think of a suitable response fast enough, so I decided to pick up where Mikey left off and play along. ‘Yeah, Gee. I want you over a table.’
Mikey waggled his eyebrows at me. ‘Frank wants your impossible babies, Gerard.’
I tried not to blush brighter. ‘A hundred of them.’ A part of me was humouring the younger Way brother, a part of me was telling the truth. That part was more dominant.
‘Frank’s gonna queer-butt-rape you.’
‘Ye-no, Mikey. That’s far.’
‘Well you are,’ he said to me.
‘That is far, Mikey,’ remarked Gerard, not looking up from his game.
My jaw dropped. In the heat of the game, we hadn’t noticed that the music had stopped. But the next song started before I could say anything. My cheeks burned.
‘Frank is madly in love with you, Gerard.’
I slapped Mikey upside the head. ‘Shut it, bitch.’
‘Hey! Mikey! Man-slut!’
Mikey and I turned to see Ray waving frantically, the counter girl and the old man giving him the dirtiest looks in the entire history of dirty looks.
‘C’mere and help me carry these coffees?’
‘Can’t you do it yourself?’
‘Guys, quit shouting. Go talk.’ I shoved Mikey in the direction of the counter where Ray was standing.
Gerard shook his head and returned to his game. I returned to mine.
‘Your voice is my music,’ I said. Truthfully. I had no idea where this cheese was coming from, but the more of it I spewed, the redder my face got and the less my stomach hurt.
‘You really don’t suit blue roots. Your hands are warm and I want to hold them. Maybe I do want you over a table.’
I lowered my voice with every sentence, so that Mikey and Ray wouldn’t overhear. Not that they would; they were far too busy arguing about how Ray was lazy and how Mikey should ‘be nice’ or ‘get thrown out of the cafe for his language’, the latter being added by the pissy girl behind the counter.
‘I want you to know. I am madly in love with you.’ I was only saying all of this because my feelings for my best friend were driving me mental, and the best thing to do was tell him. I was telling him. I was telling him when he couldn’t hear me because I was terrified of what he’d say if he could hear me.
I lifted my gaze from my fidgeting hands to meet Gerard’s shining, inquisitive eyes. My face went redder than his scarlet headphones, which I only just noticed were completely silent. Balls.
I swallowed nervously, wondering how to get out of this. ‘Um, I was just checking if you could hear me...?’ I mumbled, looking at the table.
‘I heard every word,’ said Gerard, putting a finger under my chin and lifting my face so that I was looking at him. Into his eyes. Golden eyes. ‘So...?’
Oh, evil Godzilla creature, where are you when I need you to smash through the window and eat me?
I gave the tiniest nod known to man and screwed my eyes closed.
Ray and Mikey’s argument was getting louder and I realised that they were returning with our coffee. Great job, Godzilla. A fro-wielding weirdo and a spectacled freak beat you to it. Saving me from the situation, not eating me.
Gerard’s finger vanished from my chin, but I felt the ghost of a kiss he placed quickly on my lips before pulling away and returning to acting normally as Mikey and Ray arrived.
I opened my eyes as Mikey shoved a cup of sweet-smelling coffee into my hand but I almost dropped it. I was still lovestruck. I could still feel the kiss on my lips and I lifted a finger to run along them as I stared shyly at Gerard from under my fringe. He put his phone away and winked at me, smiling.
I returned the smile, the swelling feeling in my chest threatening to burst. Mikey said something to me, but I didn’t hear. I just watched Gerard lift his coffee cup to his lips, his eyes still on me.
He took a sip and pulled a face. ‘Eww! Ray, this is honey. Honey’s the shit flavour!’
Ray sniggered. ‘Well, I did tell you,’ he said innocently. ‘You’d have heard if you’d taken off those bloody headphones.’
How was that guys? Sorry if it sucked.. But please R&R? Thank'ee, guys. Really.